Skip to main content

tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  January 29, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EST

2:00 am
to rate these textbooks are going in from 850 billion over two years, 410 billion a year, that's for trillion for 10 years but which is more than the presidential commission if we adopt all their recommendations, they are looking at about 3.6, $3.8 trillion. we're on track to spend all of that. so if we adopt all of those troponin recommendations, all we would've done would be to get ourselves only as far in the whole as we started off. we have to look at all of these. our recommendation was the easiest thing to do and all the tough choices we have to do come the easiest of choice would be to do nothing. that would've given message much as a benefit as the entire commission would've done.? a.
2:01 am
2:02 am
2:03 am
2:04 am
2:05 am
2:06 am
2:07 am
2:08 am
2:09 am
2:10 am
2:11 am
2:12 am
2:13 am
2:14 am
2:15 am
2:16 am
2:17 am
2:18 am
2:19 am
2:20 am
2:21 am
2:22 am
2:23 am
2:24 am
2:25 am
2:26 am
2:27 am
2:28 am
2:29 am
2:30 am
2:31 am
2:32 am
2:33 am
2:34 am
2:35 am
2:36 am
2:37 am
>> welcome to all of you. i'm susan johnston the president of the american foreign service association and i would like to also welcome our c-span audiences and all the other news organizations present with us. it's a privileged to welcome all of you today on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the release of american hostages in iran. i'd like to think you all for joining in publicly recognizing and honoring the courage and the
2:38 am
dedication of these 52 american diplomats as well as their spouses and families. of the members of our military rescue team who lost their lives in the rescue attempt and not least, our fellow diplomats from canada, who at great risk to themselves koschel herd american diplomats not taken hostage and arrange for their safe return to the united states. i would also like to acknowledge -- [applause] thank you i would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the negotiators and interpreters who secured the release of the hostages. the medical personnel who treated them, and the many others who had a hand in obtaining the freedom of the hero's and getting them back
2:39 am
home. we pay tribute to the courage and heroism of all of them today this occasion also reminds us of the colleagues who willingly served and continue to serve today and difficult and dangerous situations around the world including those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. their names are inscribed in the plaque on the c street lobby of the state department. we should always keep them in our thoughts. it is now my pleasure to present ambassador nancy powell, the director-general of the foreign service. nancy? [applause] >> good morning to a thank you, susan, for the interrogation -- introduction, and all of those who were part of this ordeal.
2:40 am
just as most americans can tell you where they were when president kennedy was shot or when the twin towers came down on a 9/11, i think every diplomat of a certain age recalls what they were doing when our colleagues were taken hostage. the initial pictures of people being led from the chancellery in blindfolds are secured in our memories and the we did not know at the time how long or how painful the hostage ordeal would be, we instantly recognized that our world and our profession would be forever changed. the perception was born out just weeks later when rioters burned our embassy in pakistan and our colleagues throughout nea were evacuated. many in the world as the 9/11 attacks has viewed it profoundly less safe. i take the diplomats in 1977, 1979 felt the same way but there
2:41 am
were important lessons from this experience. yes, the world can be a frightening place and threats we face then and now are very real. but we also know that americans in particular state department employees are resilient. i think everyone in the state department and the foreign service new or knew someone who knew each one of the hostages in iran. for me, it was my first tour who saved me in the econ section elizabeth montanan is here this morning, a very warm welcome to her. we also learned as the situation evolved that these people were not going to let this experience define them. the move done, but their lives remained extremely good colleagues and they went on to do impressive work. i personally can salute the
2:42 am
ambassador and michael holland with whom i worked later on in their dignity, their professionalism, their perseverance along with all of those held hostage they have exemplified what makes our diplomatic corps great. may none of us ever have to endure what they did and may we all draw strength from their faith and courage if the city and indeed overcoming the challenges and dangers of our very unpredictable world. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, ambassador whole. before we begin, i would like to recognize some special guests present here today and also to take this opportunity to convey their regrets and so warm
2:43 am
regards secretary bill burns to the hostages. he wasn't able to attend the the last minute due to a conflict. now i'd like to recognize special guests here. kevin o'shea from the canadian embassy, former hostages -- [applause] former hostages who are in attendance today as well as robert anders -- [applause] robert was one of the diplomats saved by our canadian colleagues. i would now like to invite our panel participants to take their seats on the stage. these five diplomats and all of their colleagues were awarded the department award for valor for their courage and sacrifice and i will now introduce them
2:44 am
one by one. ambassador bruce laingen. [applause] ambassador john limbert. [applause] mr. alan golacinski. [applause] mr. donald cooke. [applause] and mr. barry rosen.
2:45 am
[applause] and finally, in b.c. chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, who will moderate the program. and we are very grateful to andrea. [applause] >> thank you for joining us today and i am now going to trim the program over to andrea. >> thank you so very much. i can't tell you what a privilege it is for me to be here with so many friends and colleagues, and to be here really to honor service, to honor our plomats, our foreign service officers, their families. this experience 30 years ago was my first experience of a new correspondent at nbc news, and so i feel that i know all of you. i have met all of you since, but i feel that i learned so much
2:46 am
about you while you were suffering in captivity and is a thrill to be here and to use this as a moment to honor our ongoing the surface of rubber diplomats especially on a day when we are hearing a dreadful reports out of cairo. it is simply another reminder that you are all on the front line serving quietly and effectively in posts and around the world, not heralded often come under appreciate it. many of us feel. and to honor all of you by recalling of the horrible events. the july of 30 years ago but these ads that preceded it. i would like to start with bruce laingen, a senior diplomat, the day and who was in charge on the day and i ask you to recall what
2:47 am
happened in the prospective taking over as the hostage which forever changed our relations up to this very day with the government of tehran. >> thank you come andrea. can you hear me? >> they can indeed. one person wasn't mentioned i think in the introduction and that is that a young marine a sitting there in the left. >> they got him. >> major kertly. >> is he the only marine today? marines never retire but -- [laughter] i mentioned him particularly because the security council elides yet his marine corps the surface are special and he was special ads for all of my marine and colleagues said that time and i want you to get a round of
2:48 am
applause to the marine corps of the united states. [applause] >> major, do you want to stand. [applause] i think my colleagues will remember him, she was a young squirt 19 years of age or something and now he is a retired major and we are very proud of him, all of us are. >> you asked me to say something about what happened? [laughter] something happened and got us into trouble. >> if you can recount from your experience trust the emotions and defense. i know that you were held separately than the others. >> it wasn't supposed to happen that way.
2:49 am
but i have a longstanding commitment to the foreign ministry of islamic, it wasn't the islamic republic yet, but the republic of iran, to go to the foreign ministry and talk and ayman meeting arranged very carefully several days before hand with representatives of the foreign ministry to talk about all things the future diplomatic status of my liaison office. that was our agenda that morning and that's what we had that morning. beah completed the agenda and then in the process of completing that we got into trouble. some came to us by one of our security officers and things were happening on the other side of town but the foreign ministry wasn't being overrun, the american embassy was being overrun and that pose a problem and we had to do something.
2:50 am
my first instinct was to seek the foreign minister of iran at that plant only to find him in all places of cultures that morning on his way home from the 25th anniversary celebration of the islamic regime he got there and my deputy wasn't here this morning but was with us the other day. >> at west point. >> and he and tom were trying to make sure we got the help that we deserve under all traditions of the diplomatic history regime
2:51 am
obligated to provide the assistance we needed to protect us because that is their job only to find that they were helpless at that point themselves and we spent the rest of the day, i did come together with victor and mike hollen, the other officer, trying to find the help we were obligated the and we should have had from the regime of the international law, and of course they didn't do it, couldn't do it. by the end of day the relative power and we were all hostages together with my colleagues on the other side of town i was called on the foreign ministry and that's what we have done the balance of the time [inaudible]
2:52 am
confinement etc. the rest of the time. >> now, alan cleaver the predecessor of the diplomatic security on the front lines longer than the marine guards. tell us about the actual event, and i know that there were several times where things got very profit indeed. twice there were mock executions, wanted to ask you a and barry in the john about that. >> if i could back up for a moment on what burrows was talking about and the reason i am doing this is it was 30 years since and people today can all imagine what happened to us, how could that have happened? after all, there was the alamo in the united states. how could this possibly happen to this magnificent in the seacoast town to what of that
2:53 am
time was turned as a bunch of students and it went beyond that it on won't be labour the point. suffice it to say that is the way we did things at that time whether it was in tehran, beirut, other places we were very dependent on the terms of the vienna convention and how come to our rescue as it did earlier than some of you may remember the embassy was overrun earlier that year. so basically, to not go into the gory details of it, but to say that what we were trying to do is buy time and the calgary would arrive as they did on tiberi 14th. we would get to leave to take the persian rugs with us and those things we have accumulated, but our assignments
2:54 am
would be curtailed and off we would go to some other at the center unfortunately as we all know it didn't turn out that way. i would be remiss in not calling get attention as bruce did to the marines. their performance that day was unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. what they did, perhaps another way of saying it is with the didn't do went against every bit of trading that they had received -- >> how many marines were there? >> we only had lain, total to touch the 14. i should say we had a total detachment of 14, and as you said that i can picture running down the stairs and one of the marines holding them out 60 people at bay with a ride shotgun what is called in a 70 p
2:55 am
for those that want to be technical and the fact that he didn't shoot was unbelievable and i saw him at west palm the other day and to this day i remain incredibly proud of him it would've been a bit easier for him to shoot. >> let me follow-up on that. >> barry rosen. weigel to move the microphone over, barry. >> in 1998i was in paris and i met with one of the strategists in the takeover of the embassy and that was an attempt by the regime to start some sort of ping-pong diplomacy and he actually told me that initial strategy was he wanted the marines to shoot and kill one of the students -- >> which would have given him the predicate. >> the predicate to kill us to actually kill us and there's no doubt about it, but there is one other point i think is a very
2:56 am
ironic and i think bruce and all of us know that for many months we were held almost prisoner by a committee of sorts run by a butcher who has his own control over the embassy, and i presume that if he were still. we didn't negotiate him out with the position of government if he might have stopped this leader from coming over the world and, you know, for me that was the great irony of the whole situation. >> i feed not, barry. [laughter] because it was my job when i was sent out there to get rid of him as bruce knows. >> he was our son. >> it's very important what we faced that day by colleagues who
2:57 am
were there i sure will share the sentiment is not the worst thing that we faced if corporate. we have been subject to a rocket and grenade attack and we had our own president. they wear a great sport and firing at the marines as they came to work and our marines fought okay this is part of our trading faugh -- treating but we can be quite as it now. but it was a different situation. thankfully, i think the foreign service has matured and i would hope and i understand we probably would not put our people in that kind of jeopardy, not to say not in jeopardy, but i think that we would not lead them out there as we were. >> i'm not sure how much any of us really focus on until that happens more cairo and we have
2:58 am
compliments of diplomats and posts for of egypt and throughout the region and other places in yemen where they receive the kutz using the same jeopardy presumably of what we all know is in the intervening decades security provisions have changed dramatically and we know after 1998 that in fact our indices are set back and carted to the extent it does interfere with a lot of what many of you have always experience has healthy and important interactions with the public's of the countries in which your hosted. dhaka about some of the worst times there were moments of the executions that you and i have discussed before. >> the memories of that time for
2:59 am
me, someone mentioned about maturing to the memories are very vivid. we had a problem with this morning is finding my car keys. [laughter] some of you may be able to identify with that. >> no, we are not as a service things we can talk about, things have changed and they have and we do a lot of things much better than we did the one thing we have great difficulty doing is thinking the unthinkable. if i or one of us up here had predicted the course of the revolution accurately or if we had said we are going to be taken over and held for 14 months we would have been met at -- metavacked probably justifiably so. this started out -- i.t. we looked -- many of us looked at it as again be i am dating
3:00 am
myself but as a 1970's style. some of us remember those days. we marched into the university president's office, and drank his scotch, rifled his files, smoked his cigar scum issued a brief communique and marched out. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> for those that didn't hear, al asked how he got his clearance. [laughter] >> friends in high places. [laughter] and that's what it appeared we were -- that is how it appeared we were dealing with. one of the things we did, i know that bruce and others in the ministry were working hard to get those people to do their responsibilities, and from the embassy we call everywhere we do , i call the foreign ministry as well. i got a sick tree on july and
3:01 am
before i could get about, just as i identified myself as the american embassy, and here's what she said, she said the american embassy, wonderful to hear from you. you know the passports we sent over for visas, are they ready yet? [laughter] all i could say is if you don't do something about this you will never see them. [laughter] if she is in the rule i apologize. i don't know if she's here but it started -- this is the way it started off and according -- i don't know if this is true but according to abbas and others, that's the way they looked at it also. they were going to march in coming to this briefing, make a statement and marched out. and it turned into of course this huge international international event and crisis which brought down an american
3:02 am
president among other things. so all we could say was this can't go on. somebody, some adult is going to get in the middle and we will set things right, but i personally, my wake up moment came about two months into this when i got a care package from home a of my family had sent me some things including some books to read and the books were things like war and peace. [laughter] middlemarch, you know, average length about 1300 pages. and i said somebody's trying to tell me something. they are trying to get me -- they are trying to say read these books because you're going to be there for awhile. ..
3:03 am
if you're going to make this decision, get us out of here. >> and washington advises us? >> absolutely, 100%. and also, president carter mentioned in one of his books, when he asked members of the security council what will happen if they are taken hostage. no one answered.
3:04 am
there was no reason for us to be there anymore. i was in the february 14th event whether taking over for one day that we were almost murdered by the fed. immediately we were taken out in the discussion was whether we should go back again. and i honestly feel that the decision should have been made in washington to get us out as soon as the shot got in. and that i think would have been something to show the iranians are okay, when you're ready, you can call us back and ask us to come back in, but right now are not going to do it. and i was never disputed by the state department. >> john cooke, your 26 years old could connect 25. this would emphasize that i'm that old. [laughter] >> let you correct the record. tell me about as a young officer at the time, the experience and
3:05 am
what happened when you came out. because we are celebrating the release 30 years ago when i could only imagine your your linking that stewart air force base, on your way to west point and having no idea of how important you were to americans for the entire 14 month period. >> this is an important point. on the very first day, one of them to start talking about when you're in an experience like this is when are you going home and you start speculating on what the possibilities are and maybe you creates an artificial deadlines. will surely the hottest home by christmas, et cetera. people who are familiar with the korean workers on a number of years in a row. you must be realistically how long his goodbyes to my response to that person, even as the demonstrators were outside was strewn over the pueblo. the pueblo was an american
3:06 am
patrol boat was named us off the coast of korea, which was also captured during an election year. and the election-year cycle just freezes the ability of people to do things. the people on the quote below were released after the election, but before the exaggeration. and i was telling a person were in an election year, so this is the potential. to go beyond that, the iranians were being advised by -- i believe palestinians to make a very free out when i suggested the possibility existed. and their advisers had told them that you don't want to tell the captive any of the circumstances of the international news or national news related to their position because you don't want them to know what's going on and perhaps act in a way that you don't want them to.
3:07 am
and so, they kept all information away from us about what was going on except they would tell us occasionally that, you know, this is a big thing in the united states and on the news every night, the commentary -- the new captures start out with this since day 132 of the hostage crisis in iran and we frankly didn't believe them. you know, what again, the reaction was around the pueblo. there was some news when they were first taken, some news when propaganda photographs came out and there was some news when they were released, but there were certainly not a national uprising or a national focus on getting the people on the pueblo freed. and so, that is a big difference in the real surprise. and obviously a pleasant surprise for us to know that really everybody in the united days really cared. and i'd like to go back. it's a different time. it is 30 years later and something that john limber was
3:08 am
reminding us of. i think that that historians have missed the real significance of the hostage crisis. and that is that it represented the end of the vietnam war. for a long period of time, it's easy to be embarrassed to be an american. it was easy to accept the criticism that the u.s. and the soviet union were really the same in these sorts of things. and this was finally such an outrageous act against the united states. we really were in iran to try to help the new government. we have really helped facilitate the change in power there. we have not gone in and try to prop up the state tater. in the outcome even in response to that, our embassy was taken. and this was a chance for americans to say no, we really are something different. we really are not what our enemies declare that we are. and i think that's the real significance of the
3:09 am
hostagetaking and i really do find it really brought about a change in american attitudes about ourselves than it is something that i'm really very proud of. and also, it affected the way we treat the current conflicts that were in. we may not agree about what's going on in iraq or afghanistan. people can certainly disagree about the policy, but there's absolutely total unanimous agreement they were going to support our troops and we're going to support men and women of the foreign service and other civilian agents is working in both countries. very, very different from the vietnam war. >> i think we forgot to say pay tribute to our spouses and families who work tirelessly. the family liaison action group and all of our families who were with and sometimes against the state department and maybe the
3:10 am
state department or against some of the things that are spouses want to do. and i really want to pay tribute to pending and all the rest of the members here. [applause] >> thank you, sam. [applause] 's >> we should say that we're all wearing hello within and it's become -- it's iconic. it's a part of american culture now. but as bruce reminded me last week when we had a conversation on my program that before this experience, there were no yellow ribbons. there were no written. bourbons have now become a mark that we just let the state of state of being in the black and white ribbon paying tribute to the hair name attribute in tucson. of course the pink ribbon that
3:11 am
aids and the bourbons for breast cancer, could reduce co2 in the front yard in the beginning of the yellow ribbon, which was more than just a symbol. it really became a rallying cry around america in your absence. >> and it's still not today. breast cancer, pink ribbons and what you just mentioned relating to the tragedy in arizona. i want to mention in this context -- were supposed to be heroes. that's the way we are seen. all of us sitting here would always say the real heroes are our families back home. they were the ones that were the hardest against unknown circumstances. they were frustrated and didn't know what they were supposed to do and they weren't as
3:12 am
cooperative as they take to be. but they went on a day late and i salute all of those who did not. i wanted to add one thing wallace got the floor. you all have this or you have a lot of names, including those who were released earlier. and i suspect there are some in the audience who were released within three weeks. those were horrendous three weeks. they were abused all of the time. any group in the audience today -- if there is, please raise your hands. lillian johnson isn't here? >> no, she's one of our real heroes of you would know over here. but i salute them for what they try to do at that time and gave so much of their time and life in those 13 days. the other person i want -- person and people i want to salute the fat lady sitting over
3:13 am
there in the yellows or whatever that is. [laughter] well, it's a jacket. the real hero of this crisis, of that crisis as they are the ones who came forward as psychiatrists. and that lady over there is my favorite psychiatrists. why don't you stand out? [applause] >> i want to salute dr. roberts because she came to very close and dear friend of my parents and really hope and support them while they were in circumstances as rick points out how more great finesse. the families were being torn apart. either going to be released? dr. roberts and the other part of the state department and medical team really worked hard to see the families.
3:14 am
>> you transitioned through as americans do from points of conflict and you came back. the united states had just gone through this transition of political transition. you were released moments the swearing-in their money. and we had our lives, but from your good, john, maybe i'll ask you. but with the experience of landing and the interception for your client >> well, again, most of us they think were clueless about what it happened back here. john, you mentioned -- you mentioned that and how there is -- this incident had changed things in the state and where it
3:15 am
stood in the news cycle. so i can say from my own experience, this started early on, when demand frankford at 6:00 in the morning in january, dark, cold, snowy. it would pull up the terminal and there are hundreds of people out side, waiting for something and shouting and holding signs. i turn to somebody and i send my gosh, what is happening? somebody important islandia near? and then it just sort of snowballed from there. and then getting back to west point and delis personally i think i was in a bit of a fog. and as we were bribing those buses and thousands of people were there, my wife gets a wave
3:16 am
to them, wave to them. their expect in that. we had no idea appeared in the series at bank one of the strong points of the foreign service in general. you always come back to land. you always come back to reality. okay, you know, we were at the white house. we were on cnn, which had just started -- i'm sorry to mention a rival network. >> the fact is we were just discussing before we came out here, this was a transformative also in media terms. this is the beginning of "nightline" with ted koppel and abc, the beginning of cable news. and i was describing to my colleagues here that when i first started as an nbc correspondent, as the junior, junior person back then, my job because we didn't have 24/7
3:17 am
cable news was to spend the night on a couch in the newsroom in case you out of released. so in particular -- >> he spent a lot of time and not. >> so i was flipping the remote by remote -- live in a strange kind of existing, comfortable existence i should add. but on holidays in particular, you mentioned the possibility of being released on christmas time. i was assigned to be the state department for every major holiday overnight thursday in cubicles. diane sawyer was my counterpart, and other news correspondent vince pbs in those days. we just stayed up all night, you know, chatting and sharing stories on christmas night of christmas eve, just in case something were to have been. so there was no 24/7 committee know, free internet. and it's hard to explain to people what it was like then.
3:18 am
>> but all this, as i said, all of this 15 minutes of fame is over and having been to the white house come having been hearing her within a week or so, yours panting out in the cold in washington waiting for a bus. but i really knew i was home when i encountered the personal system of the state department. [applause] and then nancy, one of your predecessors would've said something like, you know, i wanted to ask about other defendants. they say they really really stood a very bad time. [laughter] >> reminds me of one of the couple of signs along the road
3:19 am
from anders that day coming into washington. many of the science told us things we didn't really appreciate, particularly one that said the irs welcomes you home. [laughter] >> angie, to actually emphasize how isolated we were in really this whole thing came to us as enemies and situation. for example, there's an anecdote i like to talk about. we spent two months in one place outside of this behind the black hole. and with the immediate gave us, basically to read was the "washington post" classified boats section. [laughter] but they've come since he's a wonderful voter, he actually put us on the chesapeake every afternoon. i bite down and he would take trips on the chesapeake day in and day out.
3:20 am
but that's why we really didn't know anything. in fact the whole issue of the attempted rest do, which is a horrible situation, we can learn until three months after. it was in a bathroom that we use, that they had a camera there and i was able to abscond with the newspaper and in the newspaper i brought it back in the file and there i read about the attempted rescue and that was three months later. >> let me ask you, there are 1100 -- approximately 1100 foreign service officers now in unaccompanied posts. obviously places that are considered too dangerous to have families. are they better protect it now? that's one part of the question. they obviously are better protect it. but they will enough protect good and to all of you, how does that interfere with your ability to perform the role of peter
3:21 am
diplomat quite >> well, let me say, i would be reluctant to give it a great, but i would feel very safe in saying that they are better protected today than they would've been 30 years ago. i mean, our eyes have been opened. i'm reminded of very delicate balance that exists between conducting our mission, the foreign service's mission the department mission and for those within the department that are charged with providing the security so that mission can be accomplished. and all of you know we are often butting heads on the issue. but everybody is trying to accomplish the same mission. you're making a wonderful point. we went through 30 years ago seemed so unique and today the potential exists, just about everywhere in the world. for those foreign service
3:22 am
officers that are out there on the front lines, we wish you well. >> i'd say it's a slightly better position to answer this. i came back last february from one year reconstruction team and karbala province. >> those teams are doing -- are taking over as we turned mission under the state force agreement. it is going to be a largely civilian ventures supposedly and that's of course the endgame in afghanistan as well down the road. >> when i was in tehran, there was very little tracking of what is frankly a response bold junior through was through in. through they just told me to sit in the back and if someone asked you where you're from, answer in farsi because you have a kind of a hunter on the accent.
3:23 am
[laughter] and we went to the caspian coast with a group of people, but in karbala robinson iraq and their missions in iraq, a foreign service officer doesn't get out the door without the armored vehicles and eight i be carried. and so in my case, it was for humvees and eight army soldiers. so it has changed. it does make them for little difficult. it does have an effect on how you're perceived when you come with this very heavy armed presence. but i think in balance is probably better that we protect our people the way we do now dimly that the way we had in the past, where people were pretty much on their own in the labs you frankly irresponsible things. >> now, but they sometimes or questions. i'm not sure where the microphones are for that we can all be heard, but let's see, yes, right here.
3:24 am
[inaudible] >> -- was very genetic for you personally and your family. we know you had a mutual pact on company politics. what they are good ended up becoming a very pilot deal for the waiting people as well. i was wondering if you could comment on this is that and how you see that. the >> question -- sorry, i see now that there are microphones at the foot of both of those steps. people want to go there for a can questions. but the question was about the effect on the iranian people, given what has happened in the decade since, but it is certainly not a takeover and the rapture of the relations. >> i think that one important type your is that by the takeover of the u.s. embassy,
3:25 am
those who were leading the islamic republic eventually saw that they were able to destroy not only in a relationship with the united states, but also the politically aware groups within iran and so they would have no opposition. all the cable traffic we had with people who were beating us were eventually caught up in this whole thing, so that the opposition to the regime already was destroyed and emboldened the republic made it stronger. >> let me also ask you just to follow up on what you anticipate in cairo given what we know about from a heartbeat. we know today many of you have been where we saw it denies has been a major crack down of cutting off internet access and
3:26 am
social media we don't know about arrests and other aftereffects. >> i'm glad you asked that question. of course you have radio as i.d., the persian surveys. and i have made good on any interview, whether it be awake person from the bbc persian, and radio file path, whatever, i make exactly that point. and many iranians have often, for example, colvin says programs instead we apologize for what happened to you. we think it was terrible. they said would happen to us was difficult. it was fate team. it was very uncomfortable, but would have been to real thick and so this thing with the ukrainians who suffered for 30 years and continue to suffer
3:27 am
under a very difficult and very harsh regime, which took hours thanks to those events. the irony of this is some of the individuals, including the one that very mad and others lead in the day woke up to josh woke up to what they had done was wrong with the mistake and became latter-day reformist and advocates of the rule of law, or shall we start a history of chronic. come once in a while they have landed in prison. and i must say, i shouldn't feel this way, but when they do land in prison i get a certain satisfaction out of it. you asked about cairo. and again, there are people here in this room who have to work to get these things, very difficult issues. i'm sure they're here until
3:28 am
9:30, 10:00 every night, sorting through what's going on. but if there is any lesson out of tehran, one might be to approach these things very carefully because what we discovered in tehran was also the muslim intellectuals were upfront, the real power was held by some very unfriendly and very determined groups with a much more extreme agenda. and these were jokes were frankly capable of anything. the nationalists were like us. they could write brilliant analyses. they could make great speeches. they could figure out a political situation and write
3:29 am
articles. but it was the other throw acid in people's faces, who could go out and beat up a reporter, could burn down an opposite party headquarters. and frankly in a situation of revolution and stability, those are the people who unfortunately come out on top. >> interestingly even now, the mujahedin who seemed to be supported by so many people in the united states are just as evil and they were horrible when i was there, meeting with reporters and editors. they would come in and beat up people and destroyed the offices. and now they are saying they're legitimate opposition. i wouldn't trust them as much as i wouldn't trust the regime to tehran. >> following up on cairo, because your experience in the region and then i want to get to this other question. what about the power structure
3:30 am
in cairo? what would you predict, given what is happening in the street now and the mubarak responds? in that well, i still work for the state department, so i need to be careful about not stepping on the toes who work on the colleague desk. i would point out in tanisha jewett is slightly different situation and that the leadership there was not as closely tied to the military as the mubarak regime is closely tied to the military and leave it for others to speculate where that might go. one thing i would say that was when -- after he came back years later, i served in east asia pacific affairs. after my time in the philippines , paul wolfowitz was the assistant secretary we have a roundtable discussion, the theme of which is, are we making the same mistakes in the filipinas begin in tehran. the moderator led off with the idea. he said if the state department
3:31 am
is given three choices, the state department is always going to choose the. and he did this to annoy him and he he could sort of see the very calm guy. he began clenching his teeth together. and his response was interesting. he says he makes two assumptions. the first assumption is that the middle quarters is wrong and it may very well be that the middle course in these situations is the right way to go. and the second is that it makes the assumption that the middle course is easy and it may very well be the most difficult thing between eight, dnc. the point that made, he agreed with and he was surrounded the defense department and the carter was in tehran the mistake making was not that we're trying to fall of the middle course. it was the were trying to follow ancs simultaneously, try to support while still reaching out to the opposition at a time in the philippines, where people would've thought it would've
3:32 am
been ridiculous to sell any kind of riot control gear to the marcos regime. at the time of the revolution in the demonstration, we are having that exact debate as to whether or not we would sell additional control gear to dish out. i think part of the reaction we got, part of the failure in tehran in part of the success in the philippines was sending tehran, because recent mint and distrust on both sides by trying to follow ancs simultaneously, where the philippines we were seen as honest brokers by supporting what was the legitimate government, but i've lost it and was booed him legitimacy of the democratic competition was for me. >> as i recall, is really attribute the secretary shall and division in what senator lugar and others persuaded the white house to do at the time. gentlemen, sorry.
3:33 am
>> beside gentlemen at the table are all heroes of mine. it turns out that three, the oldest very are old and dear friends of mine. it is also a fact that the benefit and pleasure of playing poker with two of them on more than one occasion. and i would like to take this opportunity to thank john limbert and laingen for their contributions to myself and my family over the years. [applause] [laughter] >> forgive me for not applauding. but i do have two serious question. the tactical question is this. and maybe a party inserted, john. why some of the hostages were treated fairly well and others were tortured, beaten and the objects of mock executions. why did it go down that way?
3:34 am
was adjust the instability of the revolution or was it planned or with the look of the draw or whether? announces strategic question is to be above the current unrest in tunisia and egypt and yemen spread further used and revitalize the green revolution? i like to hear your take some that would. thank you. >> thank you. john? >> well, i'd like to say it's been a pleasure helping your family, but -- no, the first thing you've learned i think as a prisoner is that the situation you are in is the ultimate in unreason and the logic. you will find no reason, no logic in what happens -- and what happens to you. the fact that one person is
3:35 am
treated one way, another person is treated another way, you'll never find out. if you read his stories about the gulag comments very much there. i learned that from experience and also from my cellmate who had been in the army for 30 years and who knew a little bit about -- those little bit about unreason. again, you don't know and after a while you don't ask because these things happen. i mean, they identified some of us as that. there's. they identified others is not under what criteria, you know, i don't know. the other thing about the green revolution -- i'll just say, the events in tunis may have had a huge ipo on the iranian sites. one of the things they came up
3:36 am
with, which was really cute was the same in persian. is that tunis tunis, means to ms. currie, iran couldn't. or it also means tunis is tunis. iran is not tunis in the same way. i mean, they are arguing about it just as much. why does the work in one place and not in another? my 52nd answer is that ben ali had the place to go. the folks in tehran do not. i mean, can you imagine them running away to saudi arabia? i doubt it. >> may i -- let me speak to the treatment issue because it's always been of some controversy and i expect, tom, that's why you asked the question. everybody that was there suffered in their own way. make no mistake. it was sunny picnic for anyone. what john points out is very
3:37 am
accurate. very early on they identified all of us come either accurately or what they would like each of us to be, if it was convenient for them and proceeded from there. and some of the things that they suggested that we as individuals -- i'm going to be very careful here to speak for myself. each of us needs to speak for themselves. one thing that was common when they identified something they thought would be be particularly useful to their cause -- and they actually said this then you've heard this elsewhere in movies or whatever, but we have discovered this about you. one of the things they discovered about the recent counterfeit bills that we recovered and we were hoping the secret service with. and they decided that icicle had he was going to undermine the iranian economy. so -- >> they're doing a very good job of that themselves. >> the reward for that was i was going to get a fair trial on
3:38 am
that one sentence. make no mistake. some people suffer just horrible, horrible deprivation. we all suffer deprivation. some were worse. but everyone suffered in their own way. there was bad treat flat out. the result is, answer but the body. this was not a matter time in solitude alone, which is painful and another of your but i would like to be clear about that and i said that that was something that she wanted clarified. >> and then we're going to have to conclude. >> let me just add that being in prison or 144 days, as they were treated well or badly as to render this in no matter how you look at it, we were in prison and treated badly, even if we were not tortured.
3:39 am
it should be in there for 444 days in darkness and isolation. that's enough for anyone. >> well, i want to thank all of our participants, colleagues, heroes, witnesses and survivors of one of the most extraordinary events in american his three as well as diplomatic history. and also surveyed again a reminder that we have men and women and their families, serving around the world in iraq and afghanistan, cairo, tunis, and yemen and other parts around the world. and they are in the front line every day which is neat to do all that we can to understand and support and engage and make sure that we are all aware and that the american public is aware of everything they're
3:40 am
doing. i want to thank you for this opportunity to relive and perhaps put in context. the mac i think in that context, susan jones come away she quite >> red appear. >> ratepayer. she's trying to get rid of this. susan johnson -- who else is here from a? >> in houston, ratepayer. the executive director has been heroic, both here and what he is made possible. all the sleep you again. i'm also assistant secretary of state, direct your -- is sheer? >> shaye diddley because she had an 11:00 speaking engagement. >> i cannot let the event pass without saluting our neighbors to the north, canada. we are a fortunate country and
3:41 am
having a neighbor like that. [applause] for reasons that each and everyone of you can probably give us stories about how canada has held. but five of our colleagues in tehran -- six of them, if gates out the back gate of the embassy when the embassy was being overrun. and then there they were the middle of tehran. not quite sure where they were going. looking for refuge wherever they could find it, eventually finding refuge in the president is of the ambassador to canada at that time, ambassador of canada at that time and his deputy, who said as soon as they heard from our wanderings six,
3:42 am
where the have you been? why didn't you come sooner? you are very welcome here. this book has the story of the canadian keeper. >> can carry the cia and the iran hostage crisis by robert wright. >> is a representative here today if he would stand and salute us, please. there he is. [applause] those canadians at that time gave refuge to our six and eventually they were out secretly with their intelligence agencies and ours this marvelous plan that falls down to slip out of town safely, requiring them to close their embassies of the sacrifice all of their interest across the board in iran at that
3:43 am
time because they care that much about six and i salute them. [applause] >> well, thank you all for coming. the american foreign service process nation would also like to think nea and the director general who else but a few moments ago for their cooperation and assistance in organizing this event. in most of all, i'd like to thank you, andrea, our panelists and the other hostages and people directly involved in the audience for participating and sharing your stories today. and finally, i'd just like to express personal hope that these yellow ribbons that you all have fun in that we have unfettered associated with this will come to signify and mean support for diplomacy and support for our diplomats. so thank you love very much.
3:44 am
[applause]
3:45 am
3:46 am
3:47 am
3:48 am
3:49 am
3:50 am
3:51 am
3:52 am
3:53 am
3:54 am
3:55 am
3:56 am
3:57 am
3:58 am
3:59 am
4:00 am
4:01 am
4:02 am
4:03 am
4:04 am
4:05 am
4:06 am
4:07 am
4:08 am
4:09 am
4:10 am
4:11 am
4:12 am
4:13 am
4:14 am
4:15 am
4:16 am
4:17 am
4:18 am
4:19 am
4:20 am
4:21 am
[inaudible] >> [inaudible] -- made by the president's commission on fiscal responsibility and reform. we are concerned that some of the recommendations will directly impact and in some cases harm the affordable
4:22 am
communities. the congressional black caucus has authority year history presenting fiscally sound and responsible alternatives to the budget offered by both republicans and democrats. a glaring omission from the various reports is a thoughtful analysis of how the recommendations will affect the nation's most economically vulnerable populations. recognizing this, the cdc has formed its own debt commission to focus on the recession particularly on the communities of color as well as the deficit reduction and implications for vulnerable populations and the nation at large and that is why we are hosting the first ever commission on the budget deficit economic crisis and will of
4:23 am
creation that will address the federal budget deficit while protecting the importance safety net programs needed by the many communities. top african-american economists have come from all over the nation to share with us and i will be joined by my colleagues maxine waters and congressman bobby scott sharing three discussions. congressman will give closing remarks and we're also joined by the congresswoman, christiansen from the u.s. virgin islands. the moderator's today are maya rockymore president of global marketing solutions and jonathan of the "washington post" and jamal simmons of the rayburn group, and we are elated that despite the snow, and i'm from texas originally, and i had never seen mass panic by a
4:24 am
sprinkling of snowflakes like i have seen here in washington where it snows every year. nonetheless, you have taken time out of your busy schedule to come and share in this exciting and what we believe to be necessary discussion today. we will begin with panel one moderated by maya rockymore. like me, she is originally from wichita falls texas and also, like me a graduate of a and m university. she also happens to be married to a friend, my colleague and former chair elijah cummings. dr. maya rockymore leaves the global policy solutions that washington d.c.-based policy firm that works to create and advance social change strategies for the world.
4:25 am
a former adjunct professor and the women in politics institute at the american university. she has also served as a vice president of research programs of the congressional black caucus foundation, a senior resident scholar at the national urban league, chief of staff to congressman charlie rangel and professional staff of the house ways and means committee. let me just also say that as a pastor in my real life, we look at checkbooks as a statement of who a person is. we say quite often if you would like to see the belief of a human being go through their checkbook. it will reveal what they believe, with the support, what they like, and what they want in the future and what is true of
4:26 am
individuals is quite often true of nations so we believe that the united states budget is a declaration of who we are. are we a nation of compassionate people looking to put forth a budget that describes ways in which we will make sure that every citizen in this country including portable populations are cared for can be found in our budget? and so, with that in mind, we put this program together and we look forward to hearing from men and women who are giving us their time to come out and work with us and to present maybe another side of what we have been reading about and i will present now doctor rockymore.
4:27 am
>> thank you, chairman cleaver. i'd like to give my congratulations to chairman cleaver and colleagues of the congressional black caucus for doing an excellent job of launching what is absolutely necessary project. the first-ever congressional caucus commission on the economic crisis and wealth creation. what is going on in the country? we know that the u.s. is experiencing a severe economic and budget crisis scott that is primarily caused by the great recession which is a combination of the financial crisis and the housing crisis. we know that we are running significant deficits and we have a very large debt. in fact the congressional budget office just yesterday released the projections for 2011 if nothing is done with regards to the loss the federal budget would show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion that's 9.8% of the
4:28 am
gross domestic product. we also know that we need to spend because we are in a recession that there is a need for investment because investment by the federal government has the ability to stave off the ill effect of the recession. so we have a tension between spending and revenue, spending and revenue. and early last year, the president of the united states, president barack obama, actually appointed a commission. it is called the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform, and they deliberated for the better part of last year, considering various measures on the discretionary budget of the united states, the mandatory spending that we do, and certainly they also get the tax reform and they came up with their own a proposal. the proposals didn't pass the commission. the commission actually requires that 14 of its members actually
4:29 am
vote in favor and the did entry set thresholds. however, we are of the understanding that many members of congress, particularly those in the senate are considering using those proposals as the basis of what they will consider going forward. is this in the best interest of the african-american population? is it in the best interest of people of color? is in the best interest of the country? these are the questions we will be considering here today as we talk about the recession and the impact on the debt and what we need as americans and people of color what of what. we know the recession has had an impact on people of color. african-americans especially who have higher unemployment, higher rates of foreclosure, higher poverty levels, and certainly we will hear later on today about the effect, the devastating effect of the great recession has had on the black middle class.
4:30 am
here to speak to you today is an all the last panel of experts, and in fact in looking over the agenda pulled together by the members of the congressional caucus the experts from today's session largely comprised of experts that are aligned with the closing racial well forget initiative which is an initiative of the in sight for community economic development across racial, across ethnic but comprised of the leading economists and economic experts from across the country based in both academia and also think tanks and advocacy organizations. with that, i would like to introduce you to the lineup. but before i do, we have some very, very important members of congress. we have congress when maxine waters from the great state of california. [applause] we have congressman bobby scott
4:31 am
from virginia. we of congresswoman donna christiansen from the virgin islands faugh . we have congressman green from texas. [applause] and we have the honorable gwen moore ny will not forget from wisconsin. thank you for to joining us and we will be joining your expertise as well. with that, dr. margaret is an institute fellow at the urban institute in washington, d.c. where she directs the low-income working family project. prior year to joining the urban institute in july, 2007, she was the vice president of the joint center for political and economic studies. she has all the economic appointments at atlanta university and the university of california at santa cruz. she has edited many books and monographs on black economic well-being and has written
4:32 am
extensively on issues of employment and training, education, income, poverty and minority the filament. dr. simms serves as the editor of the political black economy from 1983 to 1988 to beat she is an elected member of the american academy of arts and sciences and recently served on the national research council committee on the fiscal future of the united states. after dr. margaret simms, we will be joined by dr. darrell gaskin, associate professor of health economics at the johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health and he's also the deputy director of the hopkins center for health disparity solutions. his primary research interests our health care disparities, safety net providers and access to care and quality of health care for medicaid, minority come on in short and other vulnerable populations. dr. gaskin earned his ph.d. in economics at the john hopkins university and his m.s. degree in economics from the
4:33 am
massachusetts institute of technology and be a degree in economics from brandeis university. dr. william spriggs was the chair of the department of economics at harvard university what is now the assistant secretary for policy and the u.s. department of labor. in his role as assistant secretary, dr. spriggs brings to the department of labour a unique sensitivity regarding workplace justice, issues affecting low-income working families, the strategy is to assist small and disadvantaged businesses. in the spring of 2008, dr. spriggs offered, co-authored beyond the mountaintop descriptions for policy for the rosenberg foundation to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king. in addition, dr. spriggs served on boards including united food and commercial commission, the independent health care trust for the uaw retirees and the ford motor company, and i have to say, he was also the director
4:34 am
of the national urban league think tank here in washington, d.c. and my former boss when i worked there. with that we are willing to go in the order i introduced them and i would ask you to hold your applause until the end. thank you. >> thank you, maya, mr. chairman, members of congress. i'm pleased to kind of kick off the conversation and in my remarks i am only going to touch on the surface of the many issues that are involved here. there is a consensus among the many economists and policy analysts the federal debt needs to be reduced from its current level. in order to do that, the annual federal deficit must also be reduced. however there are significant differences among those who study this issue on several things. when the deficit reduction should begin in earnest, how fast the budget gap needs to be
4:35 am
closed and how much of the gap reduction should be achieved through spending reductions and how much through tax increases. the national debt, that is the total amount the federal government owes to others has grown rapidly in the past decade and reached 62% of gross domestic product in 2010. it will continue to grow in the access of the over action to change if passed. this is a source of concern for many. a large debt can be problematic for at least two reasons. first, the larger the debt the more concerned there is that creditors might not be willing to continue to hold it or increase their holdings. second, this debt has to be serviced through interest payments. projections indicate the current debt will require future interest payments that will in combination with a growing and
4:36 am
medicare, medicaid and social security payments crowd out all discretionary spending. however i think we need to make a distinction between the fact that something needs to be done and the timing and speed at which it should be done. many think that it is more important to plan now for how the deficit should be reduced and how the debt should be reduced than it is to take immediate action and we need to have a plan calling for an old tv to how to get on to a sustainable path. it may take to 1020 years to get there, to get to your debt preferred destination, but it is easier to plan ahead to do that and probably in some ways less painful. but there are also many tasks of the federal debt reduction and flexible the national academy of sciences fiscal future committee on which i serve and which
4:37 am
dr. spriggs served until he entered the at bat station. the committee describes four tasks of that control. the brackett recommendations made by others including the president's commission on fiscal responsibility and reform. the law we passed in the committee's review would pull spending towards revenues which are now in the neighborhood of 18 to 19% of gdp. this would mean a much smaller public sector and would require the sacrifice of many public programs. the proposed ipad would move revenue up towards spending eventually reaching about one third of gdp resulting in a much larger public sector than we have now. the intermediate or to propose the national academy report would keep the budget of around 25% of gdp and these
4:38 am
intermediate paths can allow for any number of accommodations of program adjustments. one pass the was proposed would protect the elderly and another would tilt more toward young degenerations. but none of these was a balanced budget requirement that the whole idea is to bring the deficit under control it could be around 2% of gdp and things could move fairly well. many of the proposals under consideration would follow or closely parallel the lower half behind above to read the proposals focused on three areas. social security, medicare and medicaid and domestic non-defense spending. all three areas are important to vulnerable populations. low-income and minority groups. there is considerable overlap in these groups. african-americans and hispanics
4:39 am
are disproportionately represented among the low-income population. flexible, looking at families with children who had incomes below 200% of poverty in the 2007 before the recession had its impact on families we find that african-americans with 22% of these families hispanics were 30% about twice the representation in the overall population. african american families are less likely to have a working family member even before the recession than other low-income families. in part this is due to the family structure. hispanics on the other hand were likely to hold full-time but still below and come. because of their low-income minority population they are more likely than others to be beneficiaries of income support programs. african-americans are 12.4% of the u.s. population hispanics
4:40 am
15.1 but they are a much higher percentage of the participants in the number of government programs. some statistics show the african-americans and hispanics is proportionally represented as recipients of the support from programs such as temporary assistance to needy families, supplemental nutrition assistance programs and medicaid. if they work, these families are more likely to be eligible for the earned income tax credit because of their lower earnings. interestingly, the eitc appears in the budget in the same way that expenditures to. it's the only tax expenditure that is as visible as if it were a support program. the other tax expenditure is we somehow don't see visibly and i think that is perhaps interested
4:41 am
people of color are also more likely to seek or be eligible for the government assistance in an effort to improve their economic position. in terms of work force investment programs for a sample african-americans are almost twice as likely to be enrolled in work force programs as the representation in the overall population would suggest. because of relatively low earnings during the working lives, african-americans and hispanics have fewer resources to see them through their retirement years. the benefits from social security while lower than those of the counterparts constitute a larger share of their income. since the workers have been much more likely to be in a physically demanding jobs they are more likely to turn to disability programs when their health and stamina fail. due to earlier debt, the survivors are also likely to be the recipients of social
4:42 am
security under the survivor aspect of the program. there are a number of ways of approaching the deficit reduction without making these vulnerable populations bear a disproportionate burden. obviously one way to put at least part of the burden on closing the gap is to put at least part of the burden on closing the revenue side to increase the introduction of new taxes, and again, given that we are in a recession it may not be something that you would want to take now, that they could be something that could be planned for so they could move into place as the economy recovers. but there are also ways of reducing or modifying programs so that model of the board in the to the burden is borne by the low income groups to provide just mentioned a couple of examples.
4:43 am
one comes from a number of sources, for example the national academy of social insurance has put out several publications that look at how you can modify social security programs. among them they mentioned three come increasing the contribution tax to 90 present wording space scheduling future increases that would not take place for a number of years but having them in place just as was done in the 1983 revision to allow people who can to plan and also proposes to treat all supplemental retirement as 401k. at the same time under these proposals, you would not only be able to preserve the basic social security but he would be allowed to provide for better benefits for the lowest income workers and for the oldest of the old. another way to shift to make some reductions or adjustments
4:44 am
is to reduce the mix discretionary programs through select combination of reductions in the block granting programs of the state and local government. again, you probably would not want to do this immediately but you could do it based on the program objective effectiveness measures to be there are also a number of subsidies for businesses that could be adjusted to meet in some areas of this discretionary spending, increases might actually be needed if the u.s. economy is fully utilize its resources. for the disabled of investments in education and infrastructure with increased productivity as with investments in research and development. if we don't make these investments, the chances are that our growth path will be much lower it that will mean that problems that we have with regard to the revenue generation and safety net programs will get worse, not better.
4:45 am
you can make many of these adjustments and a way that holds domestic non-defense spending to around five to 6% of gdp which is the level it was in 1999 and these are just a few things to think about. i haven't talked about ways in which you could adjust the defense spending for civil though it is more a part of any bird and then you might want to make on the spending side. thank you. >> first i would like to thank the kokesh and emanuel cleaver for giving me an opportunity to share my perspective on this pressing problem. i also want to certainly acknowledge our facilitator, maya, and the other panelists who are here.
4:46 am
>> can you speak into the microphone? >> so, i want to also just add that i, while i am a health economist also a.m. a minister i tester a church right here in the washington, d.c., and in some ways my perspective on these issues not only reflect my academic and a scholar research but also by practical experience of dealing with people who have been found themselves in difficult experiences. my advice to the congress would be to address the current economic crisis. let's not be penalized but foolish. at the heart of the matter is the fundamental disagreement of with the proper role of government in the society. there are those who believe in the so-called limited government that says that the only role for
4:47 am
the federal government is to provide national defense to be if you look around the world and look at nations where only the only effect of the surface of the national government is to provide strong military, i think most of us would agree that we would not want to live in such a nation and you don't have to think very hard to come up with one of the six nichols -- examples. we should be clear on how we find ourselves of the skyrocketing debt. the policy of the blindly cutting taxes, shipping services to the private-sector began to evaluate and demonizing persons and give their lives to public service in the civilian sector. that policy is bankrupt. and this worship of the private marketplace the wood is a panacea for all that ails our economy and society is just all
4:48 am
we -- folly. anyone that has taken a course in economics notice there is such a thing as market failure and market failure requires government intervention. competitive markets and pure competition do not always lead to the best societal outcomes and competitive markets are on their ideal conditions and in reality conditions are not always ideal. and sometimes competition ends up being a race to the bottom instead a race to the top. this is one of the reasons why i am a public health economist today. the health care marketplace is complex and full of market failure that require government intervention. these market failures in the health care marketplace it's not new information to lead a seminal article by a nobel
4:49 am
laureate blease these out and as early as 1963. so these are things in which we already know about the health care marketplace. so, in light of that background, there are three areas where i did the congress should be careful when addressing the budget deficit. we should not - on our obligation to care for the poor and vulnerable persons in our society. we shouldn't forsake our responsibility to care for disabled citizens, and we shouldn't neglect on the investment in the public health infrastructure which we all benefit from and if necessary to ensure our communities are healthy. they are established if roosevelt's moodie wind johnson's great society and demonstrate compassion that makes our nation great and
4:50 am
separates us as separating the sheep from goats because we care for these. at the time when a nation is recovering from the deepest recession of our lifetime, it is unwise to cut spending and raise taxes. however, if we must cut spending, the last thing that we should cut is the nation's safety net at the time when the four americans rely upon the safety net for their very survival. to be clear, we must protect medicaid and chip. medicaid is only 7% of the budget and provides health care from 19% of the population and almost half of these persons are children to read medicaid over the last two decades has undergone a significant reform. almost 72% of the medicaid enrollees are already in the managed care or primary care case management programs and these programs are designed to
4:51 am
cut cost and food quality increase access and eliminate waste cutting medicaid is penny wise but pound foolish because it limits the enrollment and reduces reimbursement especially physician and both of these measures only cause the support to deily care and until they are sick enough to be seen in the emergency room and that ends up only cost of the society more. the affordable care act includes several provisions designed to improve medicaid. people chronic conditions or bundle payment to try to help better rationalize care and the elimination of payments for health care required conditions. these are things of which we should proceed with. another program that we should protect is medicare.
4:52 am
opponents of medicare want to destroy the integrity of the program by turning it into some sort of defined contribution program will get the pending deficits and the trust fund that the next generation will face and cry like chicken little that the sky is falling. medicare is a safety net for the seniors. many of us in this room are too young to remember the burden of illness imposes upon a generation of seniors and their families before congress of the wisdom to enact medicare. as i told students at the university of maryland and johns hopkins if medicare did not exist today, it would be you and your families caring for your grandparents, and what medicare does is allows us to collectively care for the
4:53 am
seniors and take the burden off of individual families to have a dedicated tax base that should be adjusted to meet the needs of the future generations raising the payroll tax and adjusting the availability age on appropriate measures that should be taken to preserve medicare for the next generation. the affordable care act mcnair when also includes provisions for the capitol and into to care organization and eliminating payments for health care required conditions and one important provision that was included in the affordable care act is closing the doughnut hole in medicare part b. the doughnut hole is that portion after the of a certain amount of expenditures seniors are left on their own to cover their health care, i mean their prescription drug expenses.
4:54 am
this has a disproportionate effect upon low-income seniors that do not have the financial resources to cover those expenditures, and by closing this will not hold what we do is the seniors' no longer have to delay or undergo the prescriptions and they can choose -- the builder have to choose medicine over other necessities. if we cut here all we are going to do is again incur higher costs in the future. the other thing i want to raise is we must protect the nation's public health infrastructure. this is why i am concerned about and talk about the cost cuts in discretionary spending. there are programs that promote community health benefit for everyone in particular the honorable populations. this starts with smaller agencies such as the cdc and
4:55 am
health resources administration, samsa which is the substance abuse and mental health services administration. these agencies foster programs critical to addressing health and health care disparities that negatively affect communities of color, and communities of color suffer from high rates of mortality and morbidity and have more access to quality health care services and these agencies sponsor programs that promote disease prevention, healthcare screenings lead to the fight against kunkel and chronic diseases and the farm to the community health centers and promote and trade and physicians and other health care workers that work in underserved areas, and they provide substance abuse treatment and many other community-based services that enhance population.
4:56 am
small cuts in these agencies have large impact on the community, and these impacts are disproportionately the most vulnerable in our society. so this time coming instead of reducing our deficit and the debt on the back of the poor, disabled for kaput children and seniors, let us talk about real shared sacrifice and let those of us who are more affluent be first in line. samsa. -- thank you. >> i want to start by thanking the chairman of cleaver and fisa chair chris jensen and the other members of the cbc, gwen moore, space, sheila jackson lee, and all of the members of the congressional black caucus of the 112, chris, thank you for inviting me to join this panel and thank you, dr. rockymore for
4:57 am
the introduction and the good work that you continue to do on behalf of everyone. i want to applaud the cbc on the budget deficit on the vulnerable communities and help to investigate how this economic crisis affect wealth creation. you heard from dr. simms that when we think about the budget deficit is often put in the context of the long term. well, the long term is now. when you think about the future, we can look at those who are under age ten. they are the ones we are talking about. and when we look at those who are under ten, those americans under ten, well over 40% of them are either latino or african-american, and that over 40% who are our future of that 40% latino and african-american one elbe -- one out of three
4:58 am
live in poverty. that's our future. those are the people we talk about balancing the budget in the long run. those 47% latino and african-american children, one in three living in poverty. .. >> an economy that was shrinking is growing again, instead of rapid job loss, more than 1 million private sector jobs were recreated in the last year. we know there's still a lot nor
4:59 am
work to be done for the millions of people that are either out of work, or struggling to offset their rising cost with their shrinking paychecks. the overall unemployment rate of 9.6% for african-americans of 16.3% is unacceptable. the president has said it is unacceptable. secretary, my boss, knows it is unemployment. we cannot live with the unemployment rates. together we can win the future by out innovating, out educating, and out building the rest of the world and ensuring that we prepare workers for the good jobs of the 21st century. when we talk about budget prove -- budget priorities and what we might think about in the terms of deficit, i want to talk about those things that we are doing for the biggest problem that we currently have. those who are unemployed and
5:00 am
those who are marginally employed. what does the budget do? i want to talk about in the context of the department of labor where we want to highlight how the current budget serves to prepare the most vulnerable workers for the good jobs in the 21st century. specifically, i want to do some further highlighting. because i want to talk about how those programs are connecting african-americans to employment opportunitying. last fiscal year, over 4.3 million participates served by the department program were african-american. so when you look at cutting -- that's what you would be cutting. access to employment services for 4.3 million african-americans. the work force enviesment act programs that we have, served over 570,000 adults, roughly three and five of those were african-american. when we look at what we were
5:01 am
doing in terms of specific grant programs, the ones that sometimes people say we can't cut the big programs. we'll cut the little ones. even the things that we are doing at the smaller level, the community-based job training grants in the last fiscal year served 28,392 african-americans. when you look at the last fiscal year of those who were helped because of displacement from trade, close to 12,000 of those workers who receive trade adjustment assistance for african-american workers. when you look at a program that some people may think is trivial, not important because who thinks about farm workers, our farm workers job program provides funding to public agencies to assist migrant and seasonal farm workers in the families, obtain greater economic stability. the last fiscal year over 1,000 of the individuals who exited
5:02 am
that program receiving core, intensative, and training services for african-american. when you look at the big problem that we face in terms of those who are leaving incarceration, those who need to be reentry grated back into -- reintegrated back into society. given the chance to get good jobs. 26,000 people in the reentry programses with over 60%, over 15,000 were african-americans. when you look at what we did on the recovery act and these funds have now unfortunately ended. when you look at what we did with the recovery act funding, we had over 155,000 african-americans served directly by recovery act funds. over 14,000 of those were youth who we were able to place thank to the effort for the bbc to
5:03 am
make sure that something was there for the african-american. 44% of the people served through the work force investment youth funds were african-american. programs such as the youth bill which is designed to give job training and educational opportunities to young people who are from low income households who are at risk so they can help to gain skills and rebuild their communities. over 8400 of the people, the young people, who were served through that program. that's 60% of those who were served were african-american. so we are working hard to make those budget dollars go to make sure the communities, especially communities of color, receive attention to help reduce this unacceptable unemployment rate. that's what the budget goes to do. that's the numbers of people that we have targeted to make sure that it helps them. and for those who aren't helped,
5:04 am
who don't get a job, we need to remember that the unemployment insurance system which had a boost up in benefits thanks again through help from the cbc, over 2.4 million of those americans who draw unemployment were african-american last fiscal year. thanks to the cbc and others and secretary sai lease have fought for the extension of unemployment. as president said when he signed the extension in december, 2 million americans looking for work who lost their jobs through no fault of their own can now with certainty know that they won't lose their emergency unemployment insurance at the end of the year. that would have been in december. over 600,000 americans would have faced being cut off from that safety net if those dollars
5:05 am
had not been extented. and every dollar, every dollar that goes to support unemployed workers gets recirculated into the economy many more times than extra dollars from the take home of tax cuts. so that's what we did in the last fiscal year. that's what the budget goes to do. that gives you some context for some people who are served on the ground. looking forward and thinking about what we need to do, we just recently announced competition for $500 million in trade adjustment assistance, grant competitions to community colleges. that money is going to be used by community colleges to develop new curriculum to retain workers and to get new jobs in emerging sectors. it's programs like these that will help to reverse the trends
5:06 am
of growing unemployment and economic crises in vulnerable communities. if we, as the panel has tried to do, continue to look forward. if we think about winning the future, and you think about what the budget does now, you can get a sense of what it would mean to cut off access to vulnerable populations. if we lose sight that our future is here today, that those under age 10, those children, those 40%, one in three of those 40% living in poverty are our future. that's what the budget fight is about. it's about having programs that connect those children to their future, our future. that's what we have to win. >> thank you, dr. spriggs. we were joined by sheila jackson
5:07 am
lee who will be joining us again shortly from the great state of texas. i see that we have a question already. congressman cleaver. >> thank you. yesterday a new proposal was floated. which is a debt service first policy. that is to say that if this proposal is approved, then the nation would pay it's debt service on the debt before any other expenditures. now that's approximately $140 billion a month. the third highest ever. the third highest monthly debt service ever. and usually the debt service is anywhere between 1/3 and 5th highest expenditure in the
5:08 am
national budget. so the proposal is before social security, before medicare, before anything else, we pay debt service. what impact would such a policy have overall? and certainly what it would have if there's no consideration given in the budget close to the top for both the populations, the aged, the young? >> well, it seems to me that that is only binding if they say when we run out of money, we won't fund anything else. so i mean currently the debt service is paid, and other things are paid, and we increase our deficit. but if their point is that we'll pay the debt and then when we
5:09 am
run out of cash, you know, sort of like when you have more month than you have money, you don't spend for the rest of the month. that would have serious things. because impacts -- as dr. gaskin pointed out, and medicare is really paid out of it's own trust fund. it maybe -- trust fund maybe running out of money. but that's the place it comes from. and the same is true for social security. so we are really looking at many of these programs for vulnerable populations because they are ease discretionary or some case mandatory, but you could adjust the eligibility criteria so that you can reduce the expenditures. so i think we would really be concerned that this is a binding constraint that will have an adverse affect on the populations that we want to protect. >> actually, can you clarify
5:10 am
just for the television and internet audience the different between deficit and debt? >> the deficit is the annual budget when you look at the annual budget, it's the difference between the revenue that you take it, and the expenditures that you have. so there's a deficit if you spend more than the outflow is more than the inflow. the debt is the accumulation of all deficits in the past that have not been paid off. so it's the difference between again putting in a household analogy, if you spend more each month than you take in, you are adding to your debt. and your debt is bigger than your monthly deficit. so it is true that for the nation, the debt is accumulation of all of the that -- the deficits in the past that have not been repaid. >> we actually have a question from the congresswoman christiansen. >> do you need to be at a microphone? >> you do need to be at a mike.
5:11 am
come on up. >> thank you, dr. rockymore, thanks to all of the panelist, and really thank the chair and the committee for putting this on. it's really important. dr. gaskin, you knew my question was coming to you; right? you made a very potent, moral and ethical argument for why not cutting programs like medicare, medicaid, s-chip, and so forth. you have a powerful economic one i know. >> uh-huh. >> in the affordable care act, we are modifying medicare, for example, through the things that you mention, the accountable care organizations, the medical homes, and through prevention. and there's one study that showed that kind of prevention could save between $652 billion
5:12 am
to $1.4 trillion over 10 years in medicare spinning. -- spending. you authored another report which showed that if we eliminated health disparities we could save $1.24 trillion over four years. how can we use these studies to make an argument an impact how we go about doing the deficit reduction and to compound the problem we don't get to score things like prevention. how do we factor these two reports into this discussion? >> well, i think what we have to do is we have to change the paradigm in the way in which we think about both health care expenditures and expenditures on infrastructure that improves health. any growing society has to have a healthy population.
5:13 am
and as dr. spriggs pointed out, those persons who are below ten years of age, 40% of those persons are people of color. and if we are going to tolerate having higher rates of diabetes, higher rates of hypertension, higher rates of stroke, if we are going to tolerate those higher rates of disease in this population, it's eventually going to cost us more money in the outyears to care for them. so it makes perfect sense, to me, that we need to do the things that we are supposed to do now in terms of providing both access to quality health care, access to quality food, the things that access to the environment that allows these young people to grow up and live healthy lives. if they are healthy, then they
5:14 am
can be productive workers, which turns them into taxpayers, which are certainly something which we like. if they are working, then they are not actually drawing on other public services that potentially impact the nation's budget. so it's -- the way in which we change our -- the way in which we think about these things. some of these things are actually investments in good health, investments so that people can be productive citizens. not just consumption for today. >> do you actually know why the congressional budget office will not score primary prevention? >> no, i don't. >> congresswoman? >> they have just -- they just don't. and they also score within a ten year window. >> right. >> and a lot of the prevention
5:15 am
impact coming outside of the ten year window. >> right. we have a situation here. we have experts, and unfortunately we don't have our roving microphone. we certainly have experts down here. i want you to answer if you know the answer, and i'd like to invite you to ask questions. and then we're going to open it up to our audience. with that, i have a couple of things i'm going to quickly throw out. one is the budget of the deficit proposals kind of cast social security in the light of the deficit. if somehow linked to -- it was framed in the larger media has being linked to and somehow perhaps causing the deficit. dr. simms, can you tell us what the distinction is between social security and why it is actually not connected? >> as i mentioned earlier, social security is funded out of it's own trust fund so that the dedicated social security taxes
5:16 am
or fica that we all pay when we are working goes into the trust fund. and the payments of -- to current recipients then go out of the trust fund. i think sometimes people get confused about a lot of aspects of that. you don't get your social security out of any other tact or -- other tax or revenue that the government has. it's a self-contained fund. it does have some issues in the outyears. it currently is not running a deficit. but the current projections are that inflow will not be enough to pay current levels of benefits some year into -- in the future. and in the not too distant future to those of us who are younger. but it is not a part of the current deficit/debt
5:17 am
problem that we have. it has a separate adjustment that is needed. i think implicit in what people are trying to have you believe is that if the trust fund runs out of money, somehow social security is also going to be dipping into the general revenue. and there's no indication that that would be -- would ever be the case. >> dr. spriggs, we have -- i frame this in terms of a great recession. for african-americans, it's actually the great depression. for younger african-americans, it really is a huge depression. you talked about the work that you are doing, and certainly the administration is doing to address that issue. is the work that you are doing sufficient for the magnitude of the challenge in the african-american community? and what else needs to be done to if not, what else needs to be done in order to make sure that it is sufficient?
5:18 am
>> by order of magnitude, just so people get a sense of it. if you took all of the downturns of the 1960s, the downturns of the 1970s, the downturns of the 1980s, take all of the jobs that we lost in the '60s, '70s, '80s, add them all up. that's the number of jobs that we lost in this one recession. and when you look at how long it took us to stop the loss of jobs in those previous recessions, so take the one that occurred in 2001. for over 24 months, the economy continued to lose jobs. in order of magnitude, not as much jobs as we lost. we continued to lose jobs for 24 months, for 29 out of the first 30 some months after 2001. after january 2001, we were losing jobs.
5:19 am
we succeeded in stopping job loss in nine months. even though this was a far more severe downturn. so i would say in sort of order of magnitude and dealing with the problem, we at least succeeded in stopping job loss. and we have at least returned to saying we are gaining jobs at a faster method than has occurred before. has it address the problem? obviously not because the unemployment rate for african-americans has continued to rise after we started gaining these jobs. and when you look at young people in particular, whether black or white, this is the worst job market that young people have ever faced on record. we don't have records from the great depression. we imagined what the data looked like. this now we have now recorded as the worse on record. we invested a huge amount of
5:20 am
money on job training to make sure that as we come out of this, that those young people would be well prepared. so thanks to the work that the cbc put in on the recovery act, over $500 million got invested in job training. a large part of that went to green job training, aimed at young people, and particularly aimed at vulnerable communities. those with high unemployment. we'll see. i think it's a little early to totally judge us. we'll see how well all of that plays out. that was mirrored with that investment of job training was mirrored with big investments that the administration has made in green job technologyies. in the end, it may not be enough. and we may need to do more to make sure that we actually have
5:21 am
the jobs in place. but we do know that we have achieved stopping the job loss in a record short period that we have started generating jobs, that we have made huge investments in the training linked to the investments that we're making at the federal level. and as the recovery continues to take strength, we have to hope that's the right direction. >> i just wanted to make two quick points. one is on the job creation, the obama administration inherited a huge deficit. and we made an affirmative decision to deal with the job situation before we dealt with the deficit situation. because we cut the deficit, we cut spending, if we increase taxes, that would make the job situation worse. and so we made a deliberate decision. and the deficit as a result better than unacceptably high. another thing, as margaret
5:22 am
indicated, we have the social security system is a is where all of the money goes into social security and goes out of social security. we have complicated that situation with last year's tax cut. because we, in fact, cut the quote payroll tax money going into social security, but have made it whole by going into the general fund and putting the money back. that involves the general fund. next year we may decide to make a priority decision and not put the money there. so there is, unless -- this is supposed to be a one year thing. unless we get right back on track where we have been with social security all along, social security will be in jeopardy. and i will tell you, there are a lot of people in congress that don't think that's a bad thing. they want to privatize it anyway. so we need to be very careful about the impact of that tax cut bill where we -- the flow of money, in fact, does involve the
5:23 am
general fund for at least one year. and we need to make sure that's not permanent. >> thank you, congressman. i think what i want to emphasize that he said that the tax package made things more complicated. certainly the payroll tax holiday which sounds great. it does have actually some negative outcomes if we actually look at 2012 and beyond, actually extenting anything like that. because it is actually tied to the social security funds. so with that, and thank you also, congressman for contextualizing the fact that the obama administration did inherit a deficit and has been trying very hard to address the issue of unemployment in the recession, and, of course, on top of the huge debt that the nation is facing. with that, i would like to thank. would you please join me in thanking our panelist, for lending us their expertise. dr. simms, dr. gaskins, and dr.
5:24 am
spriggs have been wonderful. we are now ready for our next panel. 35th congressional district in the greater los angeles area. and i'd like to thank all of you for joining me on this panel today. this panel is entitled "surviving the recession and accelerating the recovery." before i begin my remarks, however, i want to thank the chair of the congressional black caucus. mr. cleaver, mr. emanuel cleaver, who you heard from earlier today, i don't know if you know it, but this perhaps
5:25 am
wraps up a weekend, a very productive weekend, that we've been involved in. mr. cleaver organized a retreat where we had the opportunity to explore the many issues that confront us to set some priorities and develop a plan of action. so i would like you not only to join with me in giving a round of applause to our chair, congressman emanuel cleaver, but also to all of the members of the congressional black caucus. thank you. thank you very much. [applause] >> now allow me to take a moment to introduce our distinguished panelist who are joining us here today. our moderator is jonathan caphart. he's an editorial writer for the washington post, specializing in national politics and environmental issues.
5:26 am
mr. january hart joined in 2010, prior to joining "the post" he was a part of the news board from 1993 to 2000. he then became the national affairs columnist for bloomberg news from 2000 to 2001, and left to work as a policy advisor to michael bloomberg and his successful campaign. the major of the new york city. he returned to the deputy editor of the editorial page from 2000 to 2005. mr. caphart and the daily news editorial award won the prize for editor writing for the editor series on the apollo theater in harlem. please welcome him. a round of applause. [applause] [applause] >> we also have serving as our first panelist today, mr. dr.
5:27 am
austin. dr. austin is a sociologist on racial relations with a specializations on african-americans. prior to join the policy institute, he was assistant director at search at the foundation center and a senior fellow at the demos think tank. from 2001 to 2005, he served on the faculty of westland university. he's the author of "getting it wrong: how black intellectuals are failing black america and achieving blackness." race, black nationalism, and centralism in the 20th century. he has published scholarly articles in ethic, racial studies, qualitative sociology, race, gender, and class. please welcome him with a round
5:28 am
of applause. our next panelist will be dr. william derty. he's professor of studies and professor of african and african-american studies in economics at duke university. previously, he served as director of the institute of african-american research, director of the moore undergraduate research apprenticeship program at the university of north carolina. his most recent books are economics, economist, and expectations. microfoundations to macroapplications. and a volume called "edited" entitled "boundaries of clan and color: transnational comparisons of inner group disparity 2003."
5:29 am
both published by rutledge. give him a round of applause also. welcome him. and, of course, our final panelist will be ms. donna simms wilson. in january of 2011, ms. simms wilson joined the firm leading new york boutique investment bank as executive vice president. she's formerly president of mr bill and company. she has over 25 years of experience in equity sales and corporate and mortgage finance. she serves as chair of the legislative committee of the national association of securities, professionals, and is vice chairman of the cole childrens museum of greater chicago, and a board member of the john g. shed aquarium, and let me just add has been an advisor to me on finance and
5:30 am
economics for the last 15 to 20 years. please welcome donna wilson -- donna sims-wilson. thank you for joining us here today. the 112th congress will be defined by the current $1.5 trillion deficit. lawmakers are concerned about what impact the deficit would have the economy, on our ability to borrow funds, and on the continued financial viability of our country. however, even more concerning than the threats, the deficit post, are certain proposals to address the deficit. while some members of the other party believe that the best solution is to back away at all -- to hack away at all programs, including those that help the most vulnerable, we in the congressional black caucus are very concerned about the impacts
5:31 am
of any budget cuts on african-americans. we are concerned about the brunt of this economic crisis and how it has been felt by african-americans. i'm especially concerned about the impact of foreclosures on our communities. over one million homes were repossessioned -- repossessed in 2010, and the federal reserve predicts another 4.25 million foreclosured filings in the next two years. unfortunately, a high number of these foreclosures will be experienced by african-americans. we are now at a point where about one in ten african-american families have either lost their homes or are in imminent danger of losing them. as a result of these foreclosures, our community stand to lose stability, investment, and wealth. all told, the center for
5:32 am
responsible lending estimates that the foreclosures crisis will result in african-american communities losing about $193 billion in wealth through 201. we know that the foreclosure crisis is driven by dual challenges, creditor products, and deep job crisis. unfortunately, african-americans are more likely to be impacted on both of these fronts as they are more likely to receive high cost subprime mortgages and are about 85% more likely to be unemployed. so this is a bleak picture for us. a picture that makes it clear before we can consider slashing away at the budget, we must be willing to help preserve the african-american middle class. but we have to recognize a few public policy victories.
5:33 am
over the last congress that provides some bright spots in this otherwise distressing situation. i'm proud to say that because of the concerted, strategic, and organized work of myself and my colleagues in the congressional black caw with -- black caucus,e will soon a financial protection bureau. this bureau will have the power to stop predatory financial products before they spread like a virus through african-american communities. payday lenders will be regulated, mortgage disclosures will become regulated, and arbitrators won't be able to raise interest rates, and the financial services industry will be required by law to establish an office of minority and women inclusion to advise the agency administrator on the impact of
5:34 am
agency policies and programs on minority. furthermore, the law also calls on the director of these offices to direct standards, to increase the participate of minority and women own businesses in the programs and contracts of the agency. in those provision, we caught to end a culture in the financial services industry that perpetuated the exclusion of qualified women and minorities. and businesses they own. and never again do i want to see the practices used during the financial crisis where the same large firms that contributed to the crisis were selected to manage the millions of dollars in contracts to so-called rescuers from the crisis. simply because they had exclusive access to these agencies. i'd like to just take a moment and thank mr. donna sims-wilson
5:35 am
on our panel today and other partners sharing our goal of inclusion for working with us so closely to develop those offices of women and minority inclusion that i just eluded to and some very other important things that we were able to get in the frank-dodd legislation. in addition to taking action on foreclosures, we must also protect our achievement in the 112th congress. like health care reform, we have already heard some talk of trying to repeal, defund, or otherwise undermine the bureau. the consumer financial protection bureau. and some of the other -- some on the other side of the aisle and in the media have taken to attacking these new offices of minority and women inclusion. we are already starting see a republican onlawsuit --
5:36 am
onslaught against the safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors. house republicans want to end the hope 6 program for the revitalization of the public housing. they want to end all legal services aid to help families avoid foreclosures. they want to privatize social security, and provide vouchers were medicare. and they want deep cuts to critical housing programs like section 8 and the community development block grant, commonly referred to as cdbg, which literally can mean the difference between families, children, and the elderly becoming homeless. all of these cuts would fall disproportionately on poor people, african-americans at the top of the list, were already struggling with poverty. one in four african-americans currently lives below the poverty line. including some families who work every day but who never make enough to make ends meet. they don't have health care,
5:37 am
they don't have pensions, and without the safety net, provided by some of these programs, i fear that life will get much harder for working poor people and african-americans in particular. and as a result, our communities will continue to lose out on opportunities to build wealth. regrettingly, none of the talk of fiscal austerity applies to tax cuts for the wealthy. as we see from the recently passed $25 billion cut to estate taxes and $80 billion cut in the incomes of the richest 2% of americans. and certainly none of this talk applies to the $2 billion per week that we spend in afghanistan or the countless billions that we have poured into iraq. instead, they say a tiny sliver of the federal budget that 15% of the budget used for defense
5:38 am
discretionary spending must bare the burden of reducing the deficit created by endless wars and tax cuts. i believe that there are other solutions. that other solutions really do exist. that's why i'm pleased to have our panelist here today not only to expand upon the current economic situation, but to provide some solutions to how we grow and empower african-americans, their businesses, and their neighborhoods. i would now like to recognize our first panelist, dr. austin to share his perspectives on these issues. i believe that -- the moderators is going to have words first before we call on the panelist. so he's going to moderate the panel. >> i was going to introduce the panel. [laughter] >> well, i want you to know -- [laughter] >> i want you to know that we do
5:39 am
a lot of things around here. we're pretty smart. but we follow these notes. thank you very much. now you can take it and do it whatever way you'd like. [laughter] >> thank you very much, congresswoman waters for that. thank you, chairman cleaver for the invitation to -- excuse me -- to moderate today. by now, thank to the congresswoman, you know who i am, and you know who the panelist are. so i just want to say that they are each going to give opening remarks, and then i'll ask them questions. and we're set to end at 4:00. i would urge the panelist to be mindful of the time as they are giving their remarks, their opening remarks and when they are answering the questions. so without further ado, dr. donna sims-wilson. ms. donna sims-wilson. do you not want to go first?
5:40 am
>> i was told i was going to go last. >> fine. so we are going to start. >> i thought -- >> with dr. austin. >> okay. great. thank you. i would like to thank chairman cleaver and the congressional black caucus for inviting me to speak today. so i'm going to address the issue of increasing american economic growth and competitiveness. currently, there are over 14 million americans who would like to work but cannot find work. this is the most important immediate problem facing the country. although african-american workers make up only 12% of the american labor force, blacks make up 20% of the unemployed. our ability to create jobs sooner rather than later matters a great deal for the well being of millions of american families. our failure to create jobs
5:41 am
causing people to lose their homes, it causes increases in family stress, and it results in children dropping out of school. a serious longer term problem is the economic decline of the united states relative to other nations. in the 1950s and 1960s, the united states led the world on many important social and economic issues. today the united states has fallen behind. if we fail to invest in our people, in our infrastructure, and in research and development, we will continue to fall behind. even worse, we'll stand by as we watch our country literally fall apart. the good news is that we can go a long way to address these two problems, the immediate problem of the high rate of joblessness, and the longer term problem of america's declining competitiveness with one solution. and that solution is smart
5:42 am
investments now. the federal government needs to make investments rapidly in education, infrastructure, and research and development to make us more competitive globally. these investments have done quickly and substantially will create millions of jobs to address the current jobs crisis. i will now just give a few examples of how the united states is currently failing to make the necessary investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development. in education, recent unicef report ranked the united states 20th out of 24 countries in providing early childhood education. 15 year olds in the united states ranked 17 out of 65 countries in the 2009 program for international student assessment reading tests.
5:43 am
u.s. students were 23rd in science, and 31st in math. the college board found that the united states ranked 12th out of 36 countries in college completion rates for 25 to 34 year olds. so those are just some of the problems in the education arena. in infrastructure, the american society of civil engineers estimates that 2/3 of u.s. roads are in poor or mediocre condition, 27% of u.s. bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, 29% of all transit assets are in poor or marginal condition. each day in the united states, there are about 700 water main breaks. we lose 7 billion gallons of water from leaks in our water mains. and we put the public at risk
5:44 am
from contaminating water. an analysis by the 21st century school fund found that we have neglected public school repairs to the amount of $300 billion. so that's some of the infrastructure problems. looking in terms of research and development, the united states falls behind seven other countries, israel, sweden, finland, japan, south korea, switzerland, and iceland in terms of research and development spending as a percent of gdp. the economic policy institute found that the united states ranked 15th out of 30 nations in broadband penetration. mckinze estimates the total savings from revamping health it across the u.s. provider landscape could be as much as
5:45 am
$40 billion annually. there are as much -- many areas where we need significant investments to increase our competitiveness. if the united states wishes to remain a leader in the global economy, we must make significant investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development. if we make these invest:s now, the jobs created will help reduce the high levels of unemployment that the country is currently facing. disadvantaged children tend to begin school already begin their more advantaged peers. in these achievement gaps only widen through the children's educational career. to increase america's educational perform, we need to break these patterns. we need to make the necessary investments in early childhood education so that all disadvanced children attend high quality pre-kindergarten. we need to make the investments
5:46 am
to increase the quality of teachers serving disadvantaged children. we need to increase the number of teachers serving disadvantaged students so that these students attend classes with a low student to teacher ratio. and we need to make the necessary investments so that our public colleges and universities do not have to raise their cost out of the price range of low income students because of state budget crises. if we begin to make these investments now, we will create a substantial number of jobs in the education field. push the u.s. work force back into a top position educationally, and increase the economic growth and competitiveness of the nation. investments in infrastructure. the infrastructure needed for the productivity, safety, and health of the nation is falling
5:47 am
apart. we need to make the necessary investments to repair, replace, and upgrade our deficient roads, bridges, power grids, and suers. we need to repair, replace, upgrade, and expand the public transportation. we need to modernize our school infrastructure so that all of our students have access to 21st century technology and institutional -- instructional resources. if we begin to make these investments now, we will create a substantial number of jobs in construction, transportation, and technology. and we'll be laying the foundation for u.s. competitorness for the rest of the 21st century just as similar investments help to make the united states a dominant economic force in the 20th century. the expansion and modernization of the our public transportation systems are particularly important for our low-income
5:48 am
population. these improvements to these systems will allow low income workers greater access to jobs. increase use of new and efficient public transportation has the additional benefits of reducing our deficit -- our dependence on fossil fuels, and on foreign energy sources. investments in research and development. in the state of the union address, president obama stated in america, innovation doesn't just change our lives, it is how we make our living. yet, the united states is falling behind in it's investment in research and development. we need more investments in r&d it ensure that america tonights it's innovation leaderships. so many would ask, can we afford these investments? america cannot maintain it's leadership position in the world without these american -- without these investments.
5:49 am
america will not continue to be a vibrant, healthy, and safe society if our infrastructure continues to decay. our roads will not stop deteriorating, our water mains will not stop breaking without the necessary investments. in the long term, the economic growth that these investments will produce will make us a stronger and richer nation. we will have more and stronger businesses, and a better and more prosperous work force. our history and the history of other nations show that economic growth can affectively reduce a country's debt load. the greatest risk to the united states is economic decline. and we will decline if we may fail to make smart investments. there are many options for generating revenues to pay for these investments. a few of these options are to reduce defense depending, to tax capital gains and dividends as
5:50 am
ordinary income, to repeal the bush era tax cuts for top earners, and to adopt a financial speculation tax. those are just some of the options for more options and more details, you can consult this document available on my organization's of web site, the economicpolicyinstitute, epi.org. thank you. >> thanks very much, dr. austin. doctor in >> -- >> first i'd like to thank congressional black caucus for organizing this in the time of deep economic crise. special thank you to our moderator, representative waters, her office was the first to express an interest in the ideas that i have been add
5:51 am
locates two years -- add -- advocated for two years. i want to urge everybody to pick up a copy. the impressive he detailed statement of what the deaf it looks like. sorry, representative lee stepped out. her daughter was a student of mine at duke's masters of public policy program. a brilliant student. i'm still trying to encourage her to go on and do a phd. that said, i would like to propose a very specific policy initiative that i think will ensure permanent full employment in the united states. the bureau of labor statistics reports that about 14.5 million americans repained in the ranks of the unemployed in december 2010. december's unemployment rate of 9.4% represented the 20th
5:52 am
consecutive month where the national jobless rate exceeded 9%. the longest span with rates that high since the great depression. while the december estimate represented a decline in the unemployment rate, it was in part attributable to the decline in the labor force participation rate associated with discouraged unemployment. the employment population ratio remains unchanged at 58.3. the nation faces an ongoing and sustained employment crisis. to address the crisis, the federal government should establish a job guarantee program for all adult americans. the government should ensure that the opportunity to work for decent pay is a citizenship right for all americans. having americans out of work does immense damage to the human spirit, imposing extensive cost to the individual and the society as a whole, and creates and perpetuates deficit
5:53 am
financial crises at all levels of government, federal, state, and local. the federal government should establish a national investment employment core, offering all citizens 18 years of age and above an employment guarantee at a minimum salary of $20,000 with $10,000 in benefits, including medical coverage and retirement support. and upper bound estimate of the expense of such a program can be established if we put all 15 million persons unemployed at the peak levels of unemployment during the current crisis at a mean salary of $40,000, inclusive of materials and equipment for workers with $10,000 in benefits. such a total compensation package would amount to $750 billion. which is less than the first $787 billion stimulus package, and considerably less than the first bailout of the investment banks.
5:54 am
ironically, that first tranche delivered is close to the magnitude of the current national deficit of $1.5 trillion. i would argue that this initiative would be far superior to the effects of stimulus measures because it would constitute a direct mechanism for job creation. correspondingly, the wide array of cost savings from other programs that could either be significantly lowered or eliminated with the federal government acting as employ of last resort, unemployment compensation funding could be slashed and antipoverty, including free and reduced lunch, and food stamps could be reduced greatly. indeed, a job guarantee could eliminate working and jobless poverties. furthermore, the income paid to the employees would restore tax bases at the state and municipal
5:55 am
levels alleviating their current budget crises, and in addition, we could stem the tide of the current foreclosure crisis. market interventions like minimum wage and social and enforcement could be eliminated. the former no longer would be needed since the floor on the wage standard would be set by the minimum salary offered by the national investment employment, and the latter no longer would be needed because the presence of the job guarantee would mitigate the effects of fluctuation and investment markets on personal employment and income. states and municipalities can conduct an inventory of their needs and develop a job bank of task that require performance. the work to be done by employees of the national investment employment core would address the nation's human and physical infrastructure requirements. this could include the construction staffing and provision of high quality preschools, community repair,
5:56 am
upgrade and maintenance, sanitation workers, flood and other disaster service workers in hospitals and schools and the extension, repair, and maintenance of the public transportation, including roads, bridges, and damns. -- dams. in 2009, the same report in dr. austin mentioned, gave the country a grade of d as infrastructure. one in four bridges were truck -- structurally deficient. :
5:57 am
will be a permanent and universal job guarantee rather than temporary and a contingent on emergency conditions. it will however function as an automatic stabilizer in so far as the numbers of persons put to work in the national investment employment corps will rise during town turns and faltering upswings thus it will expand and contract countercyclical made the program also will provide assurance of employment from members of stigmatized population who are subjected to discriminatory exclusions from well played in point.
5:58 am
princeton's is theologist all said it's the lead to audits studies in milwaukee demonstrated on long mails of comparable age and education white males with criminal records are more likely to get callbacks for jobs than black males with no criminal records. moreover, in the first place white males with a criminal record face have the odds of receiving a call back as other white males with no criminal record. therefore, an employment job guarantee of the time describing what ensure that individuals who have completed their sentences would have an opportunity to definitely find work. but individuals who are stigmatized because of their race but also definitely find an opportunity to find work. the bureau of labor statistics indicates among 18 to 25-year-olds, white high school dropouts have an unemployment rate ten to 12 points lower than
5:59 am
blacks who have completed some college. again, the program envisioned here would provide employment for all black or white male or female individuals with a criminal record or without a criminal record. in addition, the personal and familial cost of damage to health and others faced by the unemployed would be mitigated by a program of this type. indeed the unemployed themselves often say they would rather be paid to work and receive unemployment compensation. a huffington post article by february 24, 2010, reports on martin who is described as a 57-year-old former executive chef and ohio who has been getting unemployment checks since june, 2008 and is quoted as saying instead of receiving the unemployment checks even if it is if dillinger of the would be doing good. i would be very happy to do that. a 45-yr-

114 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on